What is college really like? How much work is it, and can you have fun while still doing well academically? On Saturday, March 10, BEAM high school students spent the day focusing on college: the experience, the application process, and the next steps for each student. During the morning, five former BEAM 6 and 7 camp counselors spoke about their college experiences. Raul, Oksana, Marquia, John, and Rachel shared from their time at MIT, City College, SUNY Oswego, Fordham, and Bard College.
They addressed the challenges of being students of color on predominately white campuses. "Often in class I will get an attitude, like 'You don't get an opinion because you're Black'" said John. "You have to get used to being the only person of color in classes." Marquia shared that even though the student body at Oswego was more diverse, there was still little diversity among the faculty. In contrast, Oksana enjoyed the great diversity at City College, but she faced other challenges. "Because my high school did not prepare me well, I noticed that I had to work harder than other students. I had to put my best foot forward."
In the afternoon BEAM students focused on the college admissions process. They played the role of admissions officers, selecting only two out five applicants to admit. This led into a discussion of what steps they could take now to better prepare themselves for college. The day ended with breakout groups by grade, with specific advice for 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students. The 11th grade students also heard from current BEAM 12th graders about how college admissions went for them.